Recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado. There has been much speculation whether the affects on our state will be a positive one or have negative repercussions on our economy. Some believe that the production and sale
of marijuana will improve our economy, while others think there will be many negative impacts on our state ranging from lowering tourism, to increasing crime and affecting property values. There are regulations in place but many wonder if they will be enough.
Colorado is home to many outdoor recreational activities, such as skiing, hiking, and biking, among other tourist attractions. Many businesses rely on tourism as their main source of income each year. There are concerns that marijuana
legalization may keep families from visiting Colorado due to the image that legalization will bring. People link crime with marijuana legalization and this may keep tourists from coming here, which would negatively affect our economy.
If we begin to see a rise in crime due to the legalization of marijuana, it could lead to a gradual deterioration in property values in neighborhoods where retail stores exist. Realtors may have a tough time selling in those neighborhoods
and need to know how to handle properties that are grow houses. The best thing for a realtor to do in these situations is to be up front about the home. Some hazardous conditions may occur in the dwelling from dampening within the walls. Also, the distinct
odor of marijuana may linger in these homes as well, which would be difficult to hide even if they tried.
Several cities in Colorado now have licensed retail marijuana shops. So far, reports indicate there has been no increase in crime and no negative affect on tourism. If there continues to be no negative impact on public safety
and tourism, real estate values may not be affected. We may even see more cities open up retail marijuana shops. Only time will tell what the long-term affects on Colorado will be.
Your surroundings can have a strong influence on your mood. Making small changes on your home environment can have a big impact on how you feel and on your overall health. There is a new movement in design and even construction to make positive
impacts on how people live, work and play. It's even more important today, where many people work at home either partially or full time.
Lack of movement, social interaction and physical health can affect the health issues that plague people today. We lead more sedentary lives today which contributes to obesity and a wealth of issues associated with obesity. Design in homes
and communities, and home improvements can help with some of these issues. Designs in the home that promote movement, and designs in communities that include walkable spaces and spaces that promote social interaction can help us to lead healthier lives.
Adding a porch, deck or patio to your home improves mental health by adding access to the outside world. Extending living spaces gets people to spend more time outdoors, as well as letting natural light and air filter into the home. Another way
to get outdoors is to have a small garden or even grow some herbs in pots on the deck.
Adding seating areas outside the home and in communities promotes more social interaction, and spaces for having a quiet read while enjoying the outdoors can lead to a healthy mind and body. When there are outdoor spaces for gathering, it
encourages people to walk to those spaces and have an avenue for social gatherings.
Sleep is very important to overall health, so it makes sense to make sure your bedroom promotes tranquility. Try to avoid sleeping in a room that is along a busy street. Installing soundproof windows and drapes with "blackout" lining helps.
Also leaving the TV/entertainment center out of your bedroom is recommended as the lights and sounds from these devices can interrupt sleep.
Also very important is the air quality in your home. Find a way to have some fresh air flow in the home by opening windows at least for a period of time when the weather cooperates. Make sure to regularly replace/clean filters on air conditioners
and/or heating systems helps to promote clean air throughout the home. Check your radon and/or carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis.
These are just a few examples of promoting a healthy environment in your home and neighborhood community. By making just a few changes, you can have huge rewards and feel more healthy and happy overall. It is important to promote a healthy
atmosphere in the home, especially with the amount of people who work either part or full time from their home. Mental and physical benefits abound just from making a few changes.
Studies show that sitting for prolonged periods can have serious affects on your health. People whose professions require them to sit at a desk or drive a vehicle all or most of the day are at risk. There are, however, some simple
preventive measures that can be taken to avoid these possible risks to your health due to sitting too long.
One of the risks associated with prolonged sitting is the increased risk of obesity, especially increased body fat around the waist. This can lead to very serious conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high
blood sugar to name a few. Even more serious conditions are the increased risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
There is a simple measure that can be taken to avoid these risks: get more movement throughout the day. Moving more throughout the day is even better than spending a few hours at the gym a few times a week. Try taking frequent short
walks throughout the day. If it is not possible to walk outside, walk for a few minutes in your office building or workplace. If your building has stairs, walk up and down the stairs a few times. Parking further from your building or the grocery store will
also add steps into your day. If you are able to keep a set of small weights or an exercise band in your drawer, you can do some light weight lifting and stretches at your desk as well. Also, if you are familiar with yoga, there are some easy postures that
would work at a desk or in an office. And it would be beneficial to eat your lunch standing up, when possible.
If financially feasible, there are retailers out there that sell desks that raise to standing height so you get a break from sitting. If you are able to invest in one, that may be something worth looking into. For people whose
job requires them to drive most of the day, some of these suggestions may not be possible. But trying to insert any movement into the day will benefit your overall health.
These measures don't seem like much, but even the smallest changes can have huge health benefits. The best thing to do is to take a break from sitting and move whenever possible. If these small changes benefit your health even
in a small way, it will be worth the effort.
In July of 2010, after our economy went through the "Great Recession", we saw the creation of the Dodd-Frank Act. Its purpose was to implement and enforce rules for the protection of consumers and to prevent another housing collapse. Just
four years after Dodd-Frank, the real estate industry is again seeing more rules and regulations. Similar to Dodd-Frank, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been created to prevent the irresponsible lending practices that some felt contributed
to the housing collapse and to get back to the basics of lending.
One such new rule is called the "Ability-to-Repay" rule and is pretty straightforward. It will insure that the buyer is able to repay the loan by having more stringent requirements for lending institutions when looking at a consumer's financial
information. Underwriting requirements will assure the buyer has reasonable income or assets, current employment status, and will also check debt obligations and credit history. Strict requirements will also be put in place for Loan Originators, as well as
in other areas of the lending process. Loan Originators will need a criminal background check and be required to have continued, proper training.
As with Dodd-Frank, it will take time for full compliance from lenders as there will be a significant financial impact. Once there is full compliance, we should see a more confident consumer, fewer foreclosures and irresponsible lending practices.
The city of Colorado Springs has been working towards financial funding for a multilevel project called the "City for Champions." The plans will encompass four projects located in downtown Colorado Springs, The University of
Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), and the Air Force Academy. The hope is that, once completed, these projects will enhance the city's economy by attracting more businesses to Colorado Springs while also improving it's image for potential tourism. Now that
partial funding has been approved by the state, the projects are one step closer to getting started.
The downtown projects include an Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, and a multipurpose Sports and Events Center. The center will be designed to hold various events, and there is speculation that the Colorado Rockies' minor league
team, the Sky Sox, will vacate their current location on the east side of town and move to the downtown location. Many cities in other parts of the country that have built downtown stadiums have seen positive economic results. Once the projects are completed,
downtown businesses should see a big boost in activity.
Other projects involved in the City for Champions includes plans for expansion at UCCS and the Air Force Academy. UCCS is looking to build a new Sports Medicine Complex and Performance Center. The Sports Center will cater to senior
health care, post-traumatic stress disorders, and brain injuries, as well as sports-related medicine. At the Air Force Academy there will be a new Visitors Center adjacent to the current stadium which will include a restaurant, an athletic hall of fame, a
theater, and a gift shop. State funding has already been approved for this project.
Projects such as these have made positive impacts on the economies of other cities and Colorado Springs officials are anticipating similar results. With the Air Force Academy Visitors Center, the new Events Center and the Olympic
Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs should expect an increase in the amount of tourism. The Sports and Medical Center at UCCS will help bring more sports-related and medical business to the area, all of which will improve the economy in the long term. The City
of Champions project a great opportunity to impact the local economy and improve tourism for Colorado Springs and surrounding areas.